Giving My Thanks Away

The corner store is smelly, and crowded with others like me—coming for something quick and small. Some vegetables to make dinner maybe. Gas for the stove. For me, I’m searching for more time—for my phone.

These are my neighbors. Some live in houses like mine—with furniture and plants and tiles on the floor. One of the ladies, though, lives in a shack made of scrap material—her stuff plucked from the trash piles.

I count out my paper blessings and pay the store owner the maximum amount of minutes to last me, I hope, for a couple of months. But I’m embarrassed as I pull out the cash. My neighbor probably has that amount to buy her family’s food for the month.

I hop in my car—another of my blessings for which we saved for years—and waver between gratitude and guilt.

Photo by Saxon,

I feel this way a lot here in Indonesia. Seeing the lack every day, you can’t help feeling thankful for the things we have. Even when they’re not things. A husband who loves me. Kids who are healthy. A faith that gives life. Not to mention the tangibles—a college degree, money in the bank, a retirement account.

But simply feeling thankful for my blessings doesn’t feel like enough in this world of need. What about the needs that discourage? What about the beliefs that destroy? What about the futures that look dire?
I want to do more than give thanks. I want to give thanks away—my gratitude overflowing into the lives around me.
So, I make my list of thanks-giving.

I want to spend my words praising, not complaining.

I want to fill up on His love so that I can share it with others.

I want to share my abundance to relieve some of the lack around me.

I want to use my talents to grow the hopes of others.

I want to seek patience to turn my children’s tantrums to smiles.

I want to search for my humility so I can lift up my teammates.

Will you join me in doing more than counting the blessings? Will you seek to multiply the good in the lives around us?

Will you join me in giving thanks . . . away?

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